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Julie Assenmacher kicked off her high heels and grabbed a small, plastic coffee cup filled to the brim with water.
Seven months pregnant, she navigated a figure-eight relay course with only minimal spillage of the cup's contents. Triumphantly, she passed the cup to her partner, Andrea Fotoples.
Ms. Fotoples promptly spilled so much water the team was disqualified. "She did better than me, and I'm not pregnant," Ms. Fotoples lamented.
The women were taking part in the United Way Olympics, a lunchtime event yesterday at Levis Square hosted by Findley Davies, a downtown Toledo human resources consulting firm. Findley Davies is one of 39 area "torchbearer" companies that begin their United Way fund-raising campaigns in early June. Most company drives won't start until Aug. 18.
The United Way of Greater Toledo has not met its fund-raising goal the last two years, and spokesman Kim Sidwell said it's always important to remind people about the cause.
The economy may keep some people from giving, said Tedd Long, a managing consultant at Findley Davies who thought up the event. "We just wanted to create awareness for the whole idea of giving," he said.
Those who work in the Toledo Edison building and passers-by were invited to compete in office-related games, including the coffee-cup relay, a pencil javelin throw, and a mouse pad discus toss. Winners earned free lunches at area eateries.
"It's just a fun thing to do at lunch, and a good way to get people together," said Karen Mathews, an administrative assistant for Findley Davies.
Coffee-cup relay winners Julie Karper and Carrie Haddix, who finished the course in 55.7 seconds, agreed to take each other to lunch with their gift certificates. One competitor was discouraged when he couldn't toss a mouse pad within the target, positioned 25 to 30 feet away. "Mouse pads are not to be used for projectile objects," said Todd Germana, a Findley Davies employee. "Next year, I'm training."
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